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Tribunal reprimands nurse for breaching conditions

20 Jul 2018

A tribunal has reprimanded a nurse for professional misconduct after she failed to meet conditions on her registration.

Ms INZ* has history of mental health and drug issues. The Nursing and Midwifery Board of Australia (NMBA) and its predecessors had previously placed a number of conditions on Ms INZ’s nursing registration.

In 2015, Ms INZ advised the Australian Health Practitioner Regulation Agency (AHPRA) and the NMBA that she was on leave overseas, however, employment records obtained by AHPRA indicated that Ms INZ continued to practise as a nurse in Australia during this time.

The NMBA investigated Ms INZ’s conduct in relation to multiple alleged breaches of conditions on her registration between December 2014 and January 2016. In summary, the alleged breaches related to failures by Ms INZ to:

  • provide AHPRA with information related to her employment
  • provide AHPRA with reports from her employer and her treating practitioners, and
  • attend for random drug urinalysis on a number of occasions.

The Victorian Civil and Administrative Tribunal (the tribunal) found the allegations against Ms INZ proven and concluded that:

  • Ms INZ misled the NMBA about being overseas in order to avoid compliance with the conditions on her registration.
  • Ms INZ deliberately failed to inform the NMBA of her employment in order to prevent her employer becoming aware of the conditions on her registration.
  • Ms INZ worked during the second half of 2015, without making any effort to comply with the conditions on her registration despite having been informed by AHPRA that the conditions remained in place.

The tribunal reprimanded Ms INZ after finding that her conduct amounted to professional misconduct. The tribunal noted that had Ms INZ not already served a period of suspension as a result of immediate action by the NMBA, the tribunal would have imposed a suspension on her registration.

In arriving at this decision, the tribunal stated that the NMBA must be able to place reliance on things told to it by nurses, particularly in relation to compliance with conditions. The tribunal found that Ms INZ’s attempts to mislead the Board are very serious and reflect seriously on her character.

The tribunal also considered evidence that during her suspension Ms INZ had made considerable progress in her treatment for mental health and drug issues, and had obtained negative urine samples over a prolonged period. The tribunal decided there was no need to impose any further conditions on her registration.

For more information please see the tribunal decision.

*Practitioner’s real name is withheld because of a suppression order made by the tribunal.

Page reviewed 20/07/2018